Oz Cattle prices mainly cheaper

AUSTRALIA - National throughput at MLA’s NLRS reported saleyards rose 2%, with numbers similar to fortnight ago levels. Both the national trade and feeder steer indicators were cheaper, at 170¢ and 167¢/kg lwt respectively. Grown steer demand eased with the Japan ox indicator falling 2¢/kg lwt while the US cow indicator slipped 5¢ due to the mixed quality on offer.
calendar icon 9 February 2007
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Feeder demand solid

Feeder cattle prices have made a recovery from December levels and followed a steadily increasing trend from January through to February. Both direct from paddock consignments and saleyard lots have received increased rates.

Feeder demand has been solid, although buyers are purchasing within tight price limits. There has also been additional demand from restockers after recent rainfall in some areas that has bolstered competition. During the end of January large numbers left feedlots when northern export abattoirs resumed, which, along with some operators having a break in buying, prompted increased demand for suitable stock to re-fill pens.

There have been adequate numbers available in northern NSW and southern Queensland. In Victoria there has been a large increase in rates, although from a lower base, with some perception of numbers tightening in the coming months adding to restocker and feeder demand. Store sales have been held earlier than usual in Victoria, with these sales recording strong prices and vendors travelling as far as central Queensland to secure supplies.

Paddock quotes are 11% higher for steers and 7% higher for heifers than rates quoted at the end of December 2006. There has been a gradual increase in prices since the start of the year. Despite these increases, rates remain around 10% below the same time last year, with the domestic steer quote averaging 177¢ and the domestic heifer rate 168¢/kg lwt. A top price of 190¢ is being offered for domestic steers and 200¢/kg lwt for export steers.

In the saleyards, the national feeder indicator has also followed a steadily increasing trend. The indicator currently stands at 167¢ – 2¢ below last week and 7¢/kg lwt above the opening price for 2007.

Large numbers enter market

A combination of current price levels, the onset of warmer temperatures and declining water levels promoted a further sell-off of stock. National throughput at MLA’s NLRS reported saleyard this week increased 2%, similar to yarding a fortnight ago and 23% above the same time last year.

Tamworth recorded near record volumes and Gunnedah and Wagga continue to pen large numbers. Queensland had a 10% rise, WA was up 11% and Victoria penned 2% more.

In Victoria, supply typically increases at this time of year, although seasonal conditions and the improved saleyard price trend have assisted. Cattle which might otherwise have been sold direct to works are being offloaded at the saleyards as vendors have been prompted by the rising market. Some Victorian vendors have also been sending cattle to central Queensland where feed conditions have improved rapidly after recent rain. Some areas of Queensland, though, are water logged and producers have not yet attempted to source stock to put on pasture.

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